Tutorial: Starting Subversion on Startup

November 28th, 2007

Subversion Version Control SystemHonestly, I can’t remember if Subversion came pre-installed on Tiger or not, but I know for a fact that it does come as a standard component on Leopard. This is great news.

One small issue, though, is that there is not a way in the OS X UI to have Subversion start up when your computer boots up. This tutorial will help you set up a launch daemon that will fire up Subversion silently when your computer boots up.

Before we begin, you’ll need to make sure you have enabled root access on your machine. In Tiger, follow these instructions. In Leopard, follow these instructions instead.

Step 1: Create a Start-up Item

Open up your favorite text editor and paste the following into an empty document:

Step 2: Locate your repository

On line 16 of the plist file, you’ll find the string “/usr/local/svn” which points to the default repository location. If you have installed your repository in a different location, change the contents of this line to point to your repository. For instance, mine is on a separate drive, so my line looks like:


Step 3: Save the File

Save this file as (or move the file to) /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.tigris.Subversion.plist.

Step 4: Set Permissions

If you try to launch the daemon at the moment, you’ll get a “dubious permissions” error. To correct this problem, you’ll need to change your permissions.

In your terminal, type:

cd /Library/LaunchDaemons/
sudo chown root:wheel org.tigris.Subversion.plist

You’re done! Reboot your computer and test that your SVN server is running as expected.